They called him the “phantom commander”

TEHRAN – Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has been described as a very humble, polite and pious individual. He was admired in Iran and beyond. As more and more images slowly emerged from the battlefields in Iraq and Syria where he spent the last years of his life as a military advisor in the fight against terrorism, the most striking thing was that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest.

For someone who commanded the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, many expected to see him in full armor, just like American generals when they ventured out of an area. military base. Yet here General Soleimani was only seen at the front line unarmed, wearing a simple shirt or jacket in winter.

He was fearless as a lion. A proverb says “when hyenas laugh, know that a lion is dead”.

This is exactly what happened, when some hyenas organized the most cowardly of assassinations, some in the Pentagon, in Tel Aviv as well as all the terrorist groups in West Asia laughed; for a lion had been martyred.

They were unable to reach or follow General Soleimani in the area, which earned him the nickname of Phantom Commander; for decades he foiled American and Israeli plots in West Asia. Many around the world who focused on the region were fascinated by him, but before the 2016 presidential election, former President Donald Trump, when asked about General Soleimani, had absolutely no idea who he was.

When Israel waged a war against Lebanon, it was in southern Lebanon and helped Lebanese Hezbollah make the 2006 war Israel’s biggest military failure in the history books. The resistance movement has taken Israel by surprise not once but several times. The regime’s tanks caught fire with Kornet missiles that no one knew Hezbollah had in their possession. Israeli helicopters fell and their warship sank off Beirut.

According to retired General David Petraeus, who commanded US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and led the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, he received a letter saying “General Petraeus, you must know that I, Qassem Soleimani , I control Iran’s policy when it comes to Iraq but also to Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan ”.

What General Soleimani has done in these countries and beyond is to bring honor, pride, dignity, sovereignty and freedom back to the people. In Iraq and Syria, he led the fight against the most brutal, deadly and sophisticated terrorist organizations to date, Daesh and the Nosra Front, among others. Takfiri groups that officials in Iraq and Syria accuse America of supporting, arming and some in the Persian Gulf of funding billions of dollars.

US military commanders predicted that it would take ten years for the Iraqi armed forces to completely liberate its territory from terrorists, but General Soleimani who led a team of Iranian military advisers, at the invitation of the Iraqi government, had other plans. .

After the fall of the northern city of Mosul and large swathes of the country in the hands of Daesh under the leadership of the US-trained Iraqi army, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani issued a fatwa of the Iraqi holy city of Najaf in the south of the summer of 2014 for volunteers capable of wielding a weapon to take up arms and help stop the advance of Daesh terrorists further south towards Baghdad and the southern provinces.

The terrorists had reached the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, a few dozen kilometers from Baghdad.

Without the timely involvement of Lieutenant-General Qassem Soleimani who opened up the arms depot in neighboring Iran to new recruits who were going to form the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), and provided them with training, according to experts, all of Iraq would have collapsed in the face of Daesh.

It was then that the United States delayed the delivery of much-needed weapons that Iraq had already paid for by several months.

One of the most popular battles fought by General Soleimani and his brother-in-arms Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis (assassinated alongside General Soleimani) was to break the difficult siege of Amerli. A city surrounded by Daesh terrorists, Amerli had around 20,000 Shiite Turkmen families inside who had put up extremely courageous armed resistance to the terrorists.

However, their ammunition was running low, as was their access to food and water. Daesh had cornered them and it was widely predicted that if Daesh had entered the city, the terrorist group would have slaughtered all the men and taken the women and girls captive.

Many Iraqi Popular Mobilization Unit officials praised the people of Amerli, comparing their fate and resistance to the Battle of Karbala some 1,400 years ago.

General Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah (a PMU faction) commander Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis devised a plan that saw 50 armed Kataib Hezbollah fighters parachute from a helicopter into the city. They chose a point where other fighters from the Kataib Hezbollah Brigade ambushed a group of Daesh terrorists. Together, those inside and outside fought the terrorists and succeeded in breaking the siege. 20,000 residents who were about to be murdered and their wives, presumably taken captive, were saved.

Moving images immediately after Amerli’s siege broke saw tears of joy from Kataib Hezbollah commanders, including Abu Fadek (who replaced Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis after the latter’s martyrdom) embraced by General Soleimani.

So many popular battles in Iraq have involved the late general. In an interview, Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said General Soleimani took a flight from Baghdad to Damascus and then another to Beirut and reached Sayyed Nasrallah’s residence at midnight. The head of Hezbollah said “in the 22 years that I have known General Soleimani, he or the Islamic Republic of Iran has never asked us for anything once”. However, in the middle of that night, General Soleimani told Sayyed Nasrallah “I need 120 military advisers to resume a flight to Baghdad at sunrise after morning prayers”.

Sayyed Nasrallah, smiling as he remembered telling General Soleimani, “Where am I going to find 120 military commanders on the ground at this time of night?” He says that General Soleimani told him “we have no choice, if we want to save the Iraqi nation, its holy places, its seminaries and the whole situation that is going on there at the moment, I don’t want to fighters, just advisers to train the Iraqis ”.

The martyred general stayed with Sayyed Nasrallah as they called in the Hezbollah generals one by one until they recovered around 50 to 60. And Sayyed Nasrallah claims that General Soleimani “did not leave without the assurance on my part that I would send the others within two or three days ”.

Sayyed Nasrallah continues by recalling “that night, I felt that the whole world for General Soleimani was Iraq and this battle against Daesh in Iraq, he considered this battle to be decisive and was ready to die in this battle” .

Sayyed Nasrallah also questioned General Soleimani about a trip he made to the city of Samarah in northern Iraq, saying “it was very dangerous”. And according to Sayyed Nasrallah, General Soleimani replied “there was no other option, I had to move north so that the brothers could follow suit.”

“He was very affected by what was going on in Iraq … and he was ready to die in Iraq (in the battle against Daesh terrorists) thousands of times,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

In a speech commemorating the martyrdom of General Soleimani, Sayyed Nasrallah says “he spent many nights crying remembering the martyrs. [who died fighting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s imposed war on Iran]; in many encounters with myself he said to me ‘My heart is tired of this world and I am looking forward to meeting Allah and the martyrs who have passed away’ ”.

Against terrorists in Syria, with footage showing security forces telling him not to advance, he responded by saying “are we afraid of some bullets” and walked up to the battle line.

Those who knew the war hero well say that he had a special charisma. In meetings with high-ranking military commanders, he sat down only to listen and when he spoke, the hall fell silent.

His desire for martyrdom status was fulfilled.

Congratulations to Lieutenant-General Qassem Soleimani for having achieved this great martyrdom.

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